Missouri’s Marines and their abbreviated service

Early this week I used an entry from the ordnance summaries, second quarter of 1863 to introduce the Mississippi Marine Brigade.  That unit is often associated with Missouri, if for nothing else a lack of proper place to put the records.  Though there was a recruiting focus in the river towns of Missouri, in the War Department’s view there was no connection to the state.

Before leaving the subject of marines and Missouri, I’d be remiss without mentioning there were indeed Missouri Marines raised during the Civil War.  But that organization was short lived and we don’t see them listed in official reports, returns, or organizational tables.  In 1902, the office of the Secretary of War provided a report of organizations, in response to a Senate inquiry, titled “Missouri Troops in service during the Civil War.”  After a short paragraph on the Mississippi Marine Brigade (and establishing, officially at least, that unit was not “Missouri” in parentage), the report turned to a “Marine Corps” raised in Missouri:

Among the many peculiar and illegal organizations formed by Major-General Frémont, or by his authority, during his administration of the affairs of the Western Department, was an organization designated by him as a “Marine corps.” This corps, consisting of three companies, was organized for “river transportation service,” and would have no place in a history of Missouri military organizations but for the fact that an effort has been made to give the members of the corps a military status, and that, evidently through misapprehension as to their status in the service, they were credited to the quota of the State of Missouri.

The verbiage goes a long way to distance these three companies from formal recognition – illegal, with no place, but for a mistake.  The report went on to cite Frémont’s orders:

St. Louis, August 13, 1861.

Capt. Thomas Maxwell.

Sir. You are hereby authorized to recruit a Marine Corps to serve during the war, to consist of 1 captain, 2 pilots -first and second; 4 engineers – first, second, third, and fourth, 2 mates – first and second; 1 clerk, 1 steward, 30 sailors, 8 firemen, 1 watchman, 1 cook and mate, 1 cabin boy.

When you shall have completed the organization of said corps, you will apply to these headquarters, where the necessary order will be issued.

J. C. Frémont, Major-General, Commanding.

Key point here – these were not marines in the sense that we think of.  Instead of being “leathernecks” that would provide security, landing parties, and such, this is a formation tailored to operate boats.

One day after the order, Maxwell reported the force was “enrolled.”  Five days later, Frémont sent orders to have a steam transport turned over to Captain Maxwell.  On August 20, the company was sworn in as “First Company in the First marine Corps … of Missouri Volunteers” with a three year term of service.

Following this establishment, Frémont proceeded to order two more companies.  On August 28, Captain James Abrams was authorized to form a company.   Then on September 12, Captain John Reily was likewise to form a third company, this one to include a carpenter.  The report mentioned a fourth company, under Captain John Young, but indicated no authorization documents were found.  The designation changed to “Marine Corps for River Transportation Service.”

The first three companies were assigned to transports. Reily’s operated the steamer John D. Perry, a sidewheel steamer of 382 tons (empty).   Before the war, the Perry operated on the Mississippi on a circut between Cape Girardeau, Cairo, St. Genevieve, St. Louis, and other river towns.  Under contract for the US Government, the Perry operated mostly on the Missouri River.

On October 20, 1861, the Perry was on a trip up the Missouri to Jefferson City to deliver horses and wagons.  At Portland, Missouri, about thirty miles downstream from that point, the Perry‘s pilot, John F. Smith, attempted to dock around dusk to gather wood for fuel.  Some locals immediately informed the vessel “there was a force of 150 rebels back of the town,” with intentions to capture the vessel.  The pilot quickly pulled away, tied up to an island in the river, and gathered wood.  The Perry made Jefferson City at 11 the next morning, according to a report in the Daily Missouri Democrat (reporting on October 25).  Other than that incident, there are scant reports of operations by these Missouri Marines or their boats.

The operations with contract steamers and their Missouri Marine complements ceased shortly after Major-General Henry Halleck replaced Frémont.  Determining the contracts were not proper and likewise the enlistments did not conform to regulations, Halleck moved to break up the arrangements. On December 14, Halleck directed the Missouri Marines be disbanded.  Regarding their service, Halleck wrote to Washignton:

I am discharging most of the steamers formerly in the Government employment, and mustering out of service what is called “Marine Corps,” which are nothing more than hired men on these boats. This will be a great saving of expense.

Halleck insisted the Missouri Marines were not a military organization and were thus not properly, legally mustered.  Old Brains at it again.

Captain P.T. Turnley, quartermaster, had the duty of paying off and discharging the Missouri Marines.  By working through the Quartermaster’s Department, Halleck essentially covered the matter as one of contractual obligations and not of enlistments. He reported that was complete by December 31.  Finally, under Special Orders No. 29, from the Department of Missouri, Halleck officially announced disbanding “the three Marine Corps under command of Maxwell, Abrams, and Reily….”

In 1902, the War Department put closure to the Missouri Marines:

It has always been held by the War Department, since the attention of the Department was called to the military status of the “Marine Corps,” that its muster into service was not a lawful muster into the military service of the United States, such an organization being unknown to the military establishment and not authorized by law.  The members of this force were not officers or enlisted men in the United States military service, for which reason, evidently, they were paid by the Quartermaster’s Department and not from the appropriations for pay of the Army.  They are regarded by the War Department as having been civilian employees in the Quartermaster’s Department and not having been formed a part of the military establishment of the United States.

Not stated or considered, even forty years after the war, was that the military did indeed need such services on western waters.  And such duty was eventually performed by a mix of Army and Navy personnel, along with contract labor.

(Citations from War Department, Missouri Troops in Service in During the Civil War, 57th Congress, 1st Session, Document No. 412, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1902, pages 195-7; OR, Series I, Volume 8, Serial 8, page 449; Daily Missouri Democrat, October 25, 1861, Page 2, Column 2; Documents filed in the Combined Service Record of Thomas Maxwell, Missouri, Miscellaneous papers pertaining to organizations, Record Group 94, Roll 0850.)

 

 

 

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Mississippi Marine Brigade

The Mississippi Marine Brigade:  They were not from Mississippi.  Nor were they Marines.  And they were not a full brigade!

An interesting formation, the Mississippi Marine Brigade. Some have called it a prototype for the “Brown Water” units used by the US Navy in Vietnam.  Others have compared it to special forces units in the modern military.  Yet, others might point to a speckled service and rate the unit as more a disruption to good order – both in the Federal ranks and on the southern river-cities.   Before we go too far, let’s get some things straight about the Mississippi Marine Brigade.

First off, it was not from Mississippi.  Rather the brigade operated ON the Mississippi River.  In March 1862, civil engineer Charles Ellet, Jr., with a colonel’s commission and authority from Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, built a squadron of riverboat rams (initially four in number) for use on the Mississippi River and other western waters.  Ramming tactics being what they are, Ellet needed an infantry force on board to board rammed vessels… or repel borders from other vessels.  To fill the need, Ellet recruited from those convalescing in hospitals, but also received companies from the 59th and 63rd Illinois.  The former was a company commanded by Captain Alfred W. Ellet, Charles’ brother.  Although playing a key role in the Battle of Memphis, June 6, 1862, the ram fleet suffered a setback when Charles Ellet was mortally wounded.

On his brother’s death, Alfred assumed command of the rams.  Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and later Brigadier-General, Alfred pressed his command downriver toward Vicksburg.  In the late summer and early fall of 1862 the Navy had forces under Admirals David Farragut and David D. Porter operating against Vicksburg, but without any substantial land forces.  Not only did this prevent a direct move on Vicksburg, it left the navy without security from Confederate raiding parties and sharpshooters on shore.  To address the security problem on October 21, 1862, Porter wrote to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells that a naval brigade was necessary.  While calling for Ellet’s rams to come under his command, Porter also offered:

Colonel Ellet thinks he can promptly raise the men by enlistment, if authorized to do so, and this would be a far preferable way of procuring them…. This brigade will be invaluable, and will enable us to effectually operate against the numerous guerrilla bands and other scattered rebel forces along these rivers.

With authorization, Porter and Ellet set about organizing such a force.  Several side-wheel and stern-wheel steamers were outfitted as transports, with loopholes and other fixtures to allow the troops to fight from the boat if needed.  The force also included a logistical “tail” with vessels outfitted as hospital ships, receiving vessels, and outfitting shops.

As for the men recruited, that brings us to the next point – these were not Marines!  Ellet recruited heavily from the Missouri and the convolecent hospitals in the Western Theater through the winter of 1863.  However, his artillery came complete from Pennsylvania, which we’ll discuss in detail below. Recruiting flyers bragged that Mississippi Marines would not dig trenches, perform picket duty, camp in the mud, or suffer long marches.  Just cruise down the river on a boat!  These were Army enlistments, not Navy.  And to cut a fine point, the men were organized not as traditional Marines, in the 19th century notion, who would be assigned to and operate as part of a ship’s crew to provide security.   Rather these were companies organized to conduct riverine operations (again, splitting hairs, a 20th century Marine chore).  The command, with Army troops, would operate under the Navy.

And lastly, this was not a brigade!  Ellet recruited a battalion of infantry and a battalion of cavalry.  Neither of these formations were recruited to full strength.  Added to this, Ellet secured a battery of Pennsylvania artillery.  So the “Brigade” might be called a small legion.  Or perhaps just considered a large combined arms battalion, but far short of a brigade.

It is the artillery battery that interests us here.  Captain Daniel Walling’s battery was organized as a battery in Colonel Hermann Segebarth’s Pennsylvania Marine Artillery Battalion (I’ve mentioned them in passing).  Despite the title, Segebarth’s, which was organized starting in August 1862, was heavy artillery and first assigned to Fort Delaware.  The formation would later become the core of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery Regiment.  For reasons I’ve never been able to establish, Company C of Segebarth’s, under Walling, was chosen for service with the Mississippi Marine Brigade. Maybe it was Segebarth’s applied label that prompted the selection.  The battery had six Ordnance Rifles.  In addition a pair of howitzers operated with the brigade.

The Mississippi Marine Brigade first went into action in April 1863 with a patrol up the Tennessee River looking guerrillas.   The following month, the brigade and ram fleet moved down the Mississippi to support the effort against Vicksburg.  In late May, the brigade fought an action outside Austin, Mississippi ( a series of events that lead to the destruction of the town by the brigade…. but that is another story…).  In June, the brigade operated from Young’s Point and the Milliken’s Bend.  A detachment from the brigade manned a 20-pdr Parrott rifle opposite Vicksburg, served with great effect against a Confederate foundry in the city.

With this introduction as to what the Mississippi Marine Brigade was… and was not… let’s turn to the second quarter summaries for 1863.  The brigade was given a separate section, independent of Missouri or Pennsylvania:

0201_1_Snip_MMB

By itself, this is a significant administrative detail.  As mentioned before, the brigade was Army, but assigned to the Navy for duty.  So we have a set of returns.  But those are not filed inside the normal coalition of returns, rather under a separate heading as if a separate state or territory.  One can imagine the consternation this caused the clerks.  So what do we have on those four lines:

  • Light Battery Artillery:  Reported on board steamer ‘Baltic’ with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  This matches to other reports for Walling’s Battery.
  • Company A, 1st Battalion Cavalry:  At Vicksburg with two 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • “Capt” Stores in ChargeOn board steamer ‘Diana’ with two 12-pdr field guns.  The heavy guns, not Napoleons.
  • “Qmst” (?) Stores in ChargeOn board steamer ‘E. H. Fairchild’ with no guns reported.  The Steamer E.H. Fairchild was indeed the quartermaster and commissary boat for the brigade.

Of note, we have accounting for the Ordnance rifles, but no indication of howitzers.  Yet, we see full sized 12-pdr field guns – both the Model 1841 “heavy” and the “light” Napoleons.

The steamers mentioned here deserve more space for description and discussion.  Perhaps at a later date.  In lieu, here is an illustration from Warren D. Crandall’s History of the Ram Fleet and Mississippi Marine Brigade in the War for the Union on the Mississippi and its Tributaries:

DianaBalticAtGreenville

As the caption states, we see the Baltic and Diana in an action (in May 1864).

Moving to the ammunition, the smoothbore quantities seem far too uniform:

0203_1_Snip_MMB

  • A, 1st Battalion Cavalry:  58 shot, 88 shell, 157 case, and 88 canister for 12-pdr field guns.
  • On the Diana: 58 shot, 88 shell, 157 case, and 88 canister for 12-pdr field guns.

As for rifled projectiles, we find one line:

0203_2_Snip_MMB

And that is for Hotchkiss projectiles:

  • Light Battery (Walling): 374 canister, 125 percussion shell, 74 fuse shell, and 2,260 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

The brigade reported no Dyer’s re, James’, Parrott’s, or Schenkl’s projectiles. So we move to the small arms:

0204_3_Snip_MMB

Just one line:

  • Light Battery (Walling): Twenty Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

The infantry and cavalry likely filed separate, branch specific, reports for their respective small arms.

Outside the scope of what is normally discussed in these posts, the Quartermaster on the E.H. Fairchild reported various implements and tools associated with artillery pieces, along with 3,000 .38-caliber cartridges.

The Mississippi Marine Brigade offers a lot of threads to follow.  Certainly unique in service.  And offering many noteworthy stories.  But from the artillery side of things, I must point out this formation was not long in service.  In September 1864, Walling’s battery was broken up and re-constituted as Battery E, 1st Missouri Light Artillery (reorganized), and no longer assigned to the brigade.

(Citation from ORN, Series I, Volume 23, page 428.)

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Michigan’s Batteries

Starting a fresh set of pages in the second quarter summaries, we find Michigan’s are the next set of volunteer batteries.  As mentioned in previous installments, the clerks identified Michigan’s batteries with numbered designations, as per early war convention.  But the batteries were later designated with letters within the state’s 1st Light Artillery Regiment.  I will merge the two in an attempt to cover all bases.

Michigan provided a full light artillery regiment during the war in addition to a handful of independent batteries.  The independent batteries were late war formations.  However, all twelve of the 1st Michigan Light Artillery were formed by the end of June, 1863 (just barely, that is).  Colonel Cyrus O. Loomis, formerly of 1st Batttery / Battery A, was made colonel of the regiment on October 8, 1862.  And Loomis also served as the chief of artillery for Fourteenth Corps, Army of the Cumberland (analogous to the service of Colonel Charles Wainwright in the Army of the Potomac).

0201_1_Snip_MI

Of the twelve batteries of the 1st Michigan, only ten made the summary.  Added to those were three additional lines.  So we have some gaps to fill and questions to resolve:

  • 1st Battery (Battery A): No return.  Also known as the Loomis Battery, for its first commander. At the reporting time, this was Lieutenant George Van Pelt’s battery, assigned to First Division, Fourteenth Corps.   Battery reported five 10-pdr Parrotts in an internal report for the Army of the Cumberland.  And of course, the battery was part of the Tullahoma Campaign at the reporting date. Van Pelt killed in action at Chickamauga.
  • 2nd Battery (Battery B): Reporting from Corinth, Tennessee with two 12-pdr howitzers and three 3-inch rifles (under the “steel” column). The battery, under Lieutenant Albert F. R. Arndt, was posted to West Tennessee, under the District of Corinth, Sixteenth Corps.
  • 3rd Battery (Battery C): At Memphis, Mississippi.  One 12-pdr field howitzer and three 10-pdr Parrotts.  Under Captain George Robinson, this battery was also part of the District of Corinth, Sixteenth Corps.
  • 4th Battery (Battery D): Reporting Manchester, Tennessee with two 12-pdr field howitzers, two 10-pdr Parrotts, and two James 3.80-inch rifles.  Captain Josiah Church took this battery, assigned to the Third Division, Fourteenth Corps, into action at Hoover’s Gap in late June.
  • 5th Battery (Battery E): At Lavergne (?), Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain John J. Ely’s battery was part of the Artillery of the Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland, and then serving under the garrison of Nashville.  The battery was assigned to a post named Fort Riley during this period.
  • 6th Battery (Battery F): Munfordsville, Kentucky with two 6-pdr field guns and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  The battery was actually had sections at Munfordsville, Bowling Green, and Louisville, through October 1863.  Captain Luther F. Hale commanded overall, and at Munfordsville.  That section had two 6-pdrs and two Parrotts, in a report to the Department of the Ohio on June 20.  Another section at Bowling Green under Lieutenant Byron Paddock also reported two 6-pdrs and two Parrotts.  As with the previous quarter, we have to ask if those were duplicate reports?  Or if only one section is represented for the summary? Or… one of those sections is carried in the other lines below.
  • 7th Battery (Battery G):  At Vicksburg, Mississippi with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  The battery was assigned to the Ninth Division, Thirteenth Corps and commanded by Captain Charles H. Lanphere.
  • 8th Battery (Battery H): Also reporting at Vicksburg, but with with two 12-pdr field howitzers, one 6-pdr (3.67-inch) rifles, and two James (3.80-inch) rifles.  Captain Samuel De Golyer commanded this battery, assigned to Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, when the Vicksburg Campaign began.  On May 25, while directing one of his howitzers, De Golyer was mortally wounded (in the hip).   He died later in August.  Lieutenant Theodore W. Lockwood assumed command.
  • 9th Battery (Battery I): Reporting at Boonesboro, Maryland with six 3-inch rifles.  Captain Jabez J. Daniels commanded this battery.  When Stahel’s Cavalry Division transferred to the Army of the Potomac, Daniels’ battery became part of the 1st Brigade, Horse Artillery, Army of the Potomac.  However, the battery was detailed to support First Corps on July 3, and fired 322 rounds of Hotchkiss shot, shell, and canister in the fighting that day at Gettysburg.  Their monument is across from the Pennsylvania Memorial.
  • 10th Battery (Battery K): Reporting at Chattanooga, Tennessee, with four 3-inch rifles.  However, this reflects the September 1864 posting date.  In June 1863, the battery was at Camp Barry, Washington, D.C..  Captain John Schuetz commanded.  (The battery was sent west as part of the reinforcements sent to Chattanooga in November.)
  • 11th Battery (Battery L):  Not listed.  Under Captain Charles J. Thompson.  The battery reported to Cincinnati, Ohio in May.  First action on June 15, 1863, at Triplett’s Bridge, Kentucky.  And in July, the battery was active against Morgan’s Raid, with one section serving at Buffington’s Island.
  • 12th Battery (Battery M):  Not listed. Captain Edward G. Hillier commanded.  The battery did not leave the state until July 9, being dispatched to Indianapolis in reaction to Morgan’s Raid.

So with the two “fill ins” provided here at the end, we’ve reconstructed a complete list for the regiment.  The biggest remaining question is the sections of 6th Battery / Battery F.  It is my belief the battery had only four cannon, and the Department of the Ohio report duplicates the listings. And one of the “other” lines seems to reinforce that belief:

  • Finch’s (?) Section: In the previous quarter, we saw Lieutenant Amasa J. Finch, 18th Michigan Infantry, had two field howitzers at Hickman’s Bridge, Kentucky.  This was a temporary assignment, apparently disbanded before the end of the March.  Though the guns were turned over, the section still reported a handful of implements and tools on hand.
  • “Lieutenant, Stores in Charge”: Reporting from Bowling Green, Kentucky. This line included ammunition (which we will consider below), friction primers, and implements.  This line could account for Paddock’s section of 6th Battery / Battery F.  And if so, this indicates the section’s guns were accounted for with the main battery summary.
  • 12th Michigan Infantry: At Little Rock, Arkansas with one 12-pdr field howitzer.  At the end of June, 1863, the 12th Michigan was part of the reinforcements sent from the Sixteenth Corps to Vicksburg, and assigned as part of Kimball’s Provisional Division to the Thirteenth Corps.  Later in the summer and fall, the regiment moved with its parent brigade to the other side of the Mississippi, and was part of the force moving on Little Rock.  That city fell in November, which is also when the clerks received this return in Washington.  Thus explains the location.

So with those explanations, we seem to have the blanks covered and important questions answered.

Not so fast, as we move to the smoothbore ammunition:

0203_1_Snip_MI

Like a canister pattern here, with numbers scattered all about:

  • 2nd Battery / Battery B: 152 shell, 152 case, and 94 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 3rd Battery / Battery C: 80 shell, 80 case, and 35 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 4th Battery / Battery D: 98 shell, 108 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 5th Battery / Battery E: 206 shot, 133 case, and 137 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 6th Battery / Battery F: 251 shot, 209 case, and 115 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 8th Battery / Battery H: 75 shot and 30 case for 6-pdr field guns; 128 shell, 95 case, and 27 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 9th Battery / Battery I: 12 shell for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • Bowling Green: 294 shot, 196 case, and 98 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 12th Infantry: 20 shell, 24 case, and 16 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

The first issue to consider is the 8th Battery / Battery H and the 6-pdr ammunition.  But that battery also had a rifled 6-pdr field gun, 3.67-inch caliber, which could use smoothbore ammunition in a pinch.

More concerning is the 9th Battery / Battery I with mountain howitzer ammunition on hand.  I can only speculate.

Finally, we see a substantial quantity of rounds at Bowling Green, which might support the idea this was a section from 6th Battery / Battery F.

Moving over to the rifled projectiles, we consider the Hotchkiss rounds first:

0203_2_Snip_MI

Five batteries to consider:

  • 2nd Battery / Battery B: 240 shot, 48 canister, 48 percussion shell, and 72 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery / Battery G: 202 canister, 399 fuse shell, and 1,487 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery / Battery H: 117 shot, 62 percussion shell, and 12 fuse shell for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • 9th Battery / Battery I:  96 canister, 120 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell, and 713 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery / Battery K: 96 canister, 165 percussion shell, 179 fuse shell, and 402 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

We have not seen much solid shot for 3-inch rifles reported.  So 2nd Battery / Battery B’s report is worthy of notice.

However, keep in mind the caliber of projectiles reported by 8th Battery / Battery H.  In this case, rifled 6-pdr caliber.

Moving to the next page, we’ll break this into segments for clarity:

0204_1A_Snip_MI

A leftover Hotchkiss column:

  • 8th Battery / Battery H: 27 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

So, both 3.67-inch and 3.80-inch in the same battery.  That 0.13-inch difference?

James Projectiles:

  • 4th Battery / Battery D: 413 shell, 150 case, and 12 canister for 3.80-inch rifls.
  • 8th Battery / Battery H: 1 shot and 272 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

And moving over to the Parrott and Schenkl columns:

0204_1B_Snip_MI

First the Parrott patent projectiles:

  • 3rd Battery / Battery C: 40 shell, 421 case, and 80 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 4th Battery / Battery D: 150 shell, 150 case, and 45 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 5th Battery / Battery E: 289 shell, 108 case, and 171 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 6th Battery / Battery F: 412 shell, 381 case, and 92 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

Now the Schenkl patent:

  • 3rd Battery / Battery C: 57 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 5th Battery / Battery E: 129 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

Continuing with the Schenkl, we have one entry on the next page:

0204_2_Snip_MI

  • 5th Battery / Battery E: 40 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.

Appears the 10-pdr ammunition chests were well stocked.

Lastly, we turn to the small arms.  Notice the hand-written column headers here.

0204_3_Snip_MI

None of those come into play for the Michigan batteries.  But we’ll see those discussed in future installments.

For Michigan:

  • 2nd Battery / Battery B: Twenty Army revolvers and 31 cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery / Battery C: Seventeen cavalry sabers.
  • 4th Battery / Battery D: Twenty cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery / Battery E: Twenty-five cavalry sabers and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery / Battery F: Twenty-five Army revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery / Battery G: Thirteen Army revolvers, forty-six cavalry sabers, and six horse artillery sabers.
  • 9th Battery / Battery I: 106 Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery / Battery H: Fifteen Army revolvers and sixty-nine horse artillery sabers.

Looking back to the previous quarter, there is some attrition and loss indicated with the small arms.  As one might expect with these batteries involved with hard campaigning.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Miscellaneous Missouri artillery units

Having looked at the second quarter, 1863 summaries for the First Regiment and Second Regiment (first formation) Missouri Artillery, we can now turn to eight entries carried at the bottom of the state’s listings:

0193_1_Snip_MO_Misc

Eight lines.  Double the number from the previous quarter.  There is some carry-over from the previous quarter, but each line deserves close scrutiny:

  • 1st Battery Missouri State Militia (M.S.M.) Artillery: Matches up from the previous quarter.  Reporting at Sedalia, Missouri with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers and four 10-pdr Parrotts. This was Captain Charles H. Thurber’s battery.  The return was posted to Washington in September 1863.  So we might think this reasonably accurate.  Think again.  Indeed most of the battery was at Sedalia, in the District of Central Missouri, at this time of the war.  But a muster roll from that same time indicates, a section of two 2.9″ English Rifled Guns, 21 men, and 24 horses under Lieutenant Albert Wachsman was on escort duty with the 4th M.S.M. Cavalry.  The guns mentioned were undoubtedly imported from Liverpool, England, manufactured by Fawcett, Preston & Company, with some affiliation to the Blakely rifles of note (Very likely a CORRECTION here, see comments below).  The caliber was, of course, the same as the 10-pdr Parrott.  So perhaps a clerk somewhere along the way made a decision to tally under that column.  Call it clerical expediency?
  • Lovejoy’s (?) Battery, Mountain Howitzer: Listed at Brownsville, Arkansas with four 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  The location is almost certainly reflecting the August 1864 reporting date.  If my read of the name is correct, this is a battery in the 2nd Missouri Cavalry (Merrill’s Horse) commanded by Lieutenant George F. Lovejoy.  And, if so, the regiment, along with its battery, was posted in central Missouri.  The 2nd Cavalry was in the 1st Brigade, First Cavalry Division, Department of Missouri.
  • Howitzer Battery Attached to 5th Cavalry M.S.M.: This unit reported from Waynesville, Missouri, but with no cannon indicated.  Three companies from that regiment were at Waynesville under Major Waldemar Fischer. A listing of equipment reported included: four thumbstalls, two tube pouches, two vent covers, two vent punches, two whips, two tar buckets, two leather buckets, two gimlets, one guners’ pincers, four sets of mountain howitzers harnesses, four lanyards, two priming wires, and 250 friction primers.  We might say that’s the left-overs from a couple of mountain howitzers.  Maybe?
  • 2nd Cavalry M.S.M. :  At Cape Girardeau, Missouri, with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  The 2nd Cavalry M.S.M. was assigned to the District of Southeast Missouri at this time of the war, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hiram M. Hiller.  Dyer’s mentions McClanahan’s Battery associated with this regiment, but I have no other particulars.
  • Company G?, 6th Cavalry:  Reporting at Vicksburg, the 6th Missouri Cavalry was assigned to Thirteenth Corps at the time.  Colonel Clark Wright commanded.  During the campaign, the 6th was initially assigned to the corps headquarters.  Later they were assigned to the Ninth Division of the corps (remember, at that time the Western armies gave unique numbers to each division).  When given verbal orders to report to Brigadier-General Peter Osterhaus, commanding that division, on May 25, Wright refused, asking for written orders.  Reason I bring that up, in addition to demanding written orders, Wright also asked for two 12-pdr howitzers. (See OR, Series I, Volume XXIV, Part III, Serial 38, page 347.) Such implies Wright had found use for light artillery with his troopers, perhaps based on experiences. At any rate, the 6th Cavalry would, for the second quarter running, report ammunition on hand… for 12-pdr mountain howitzers… which we will count below.
  • Company A, 10th Cavalry: Reporting at Memphis, Tennessee, with four 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  The 10th Missouri Cavalry was assigned to the Sixteenth Division, specifically the District of Corinth, and commanded by Colonel Florence M. Cornyn.  Lieutenant Peter Joyce of Company A had charge of two sections of mountain howitzers.  State records cite this as Joyce’s Battery.  The battery received praise for work on July 7 in action near Iuka, Mississippi.
  • 18th Missouri Volunteers: The location is difficult to read, but indicating a Tennessee address.  The regiment reported two 6-pdr field guns. Colonel Madison Miller commanded this regiment, which at the time was part of the District of Corinth, Sixteenth Corps.
  • 6th Co., 1st Missouri Engineers:  Reporting no guns, but stores, and at Pocahontas, Tennessee.  And yet another interesting story.  During the Vicksburg Campaign a battalion of the engineers were sent to Pocahontas on orders to gather timber and other supplies.  While there, the engineers found themselves heavily involved with suppressing irregulars and other sorts.  From the regimental history, page 97:

The train used by the Regiment for bringing timbers and other materials required, was fitted out with a guard of boiler iron for the Engineer on the locomotive, and a flat car was fitted up with a timber guard faced on the outside with boiler iron, and carrying a ten pounder Parrott gun with a train guard of fifteen men, they called this bullet-proof car their gunboat.

So maybe the engineers are reporting the stores on hand for that Parrott gun?  Well, I’m going to dispute the identification of the gun based on the ammunition reported, below.

One glaring omission from the list above, and the two regimental listings, is Landgraeber’s Battery.  Originally organized in October 1861 as the First Missouri Flying Battery, or sometimes the First Missouri Horse Artillery, or Pfenninghausen’s Battery (after the battery’s first commander), in June 1863, this battery was assigned to First Division, Fifteenth Corps.  Captain Clemens Landgraeber commanded. The battery had four 12-pdr howitzers (some indications mountain, others field) on hand.  After September 1863, the battery would receive the official designation of Battery F, 2nd Missouri Light Artillery.  And that is actually how the battery appears on the consolidated returns from the Official Records in June.  However, I would contend the designation was retroactively applied.  The “first” Battery F was at that time in Missouri, counting down the days to mustering out, but with no report entered for the summary.  Either way around, we have two units which can be called Battery F, but no data from either of them.

Another battery missing from Missouri’s lists is Walling’s Battery.  But they appear elsewhere in the summaries under the Mississippi Marine Brigade.

With those administrative details aired out… or at least the questions laid on the table… we can move to account for the ammunition.  With a lot of mountain howitzers, the smoothbore page is busy:

0195_1_Snip_MO_Misc

By battery:

  • 1st Battery M.S.M.: 36 shell, 50 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • Lovejoy’s Battery: 64 shell, 372 case, and 116 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • 2nd Cavalry M.S.M.: 20 case and 24 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • 6th Missouri Cavalry: 64 shell and 40 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • 10th Missouri Cavalry: 30 shell, 160 case, and 30 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • 18th Missouri Infantry: 217 shot, 179 case, and 123 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

So we have an indication that the 6th Missouri Cavalry had mountain howitzers at one time.

Moving over to the rifled projectiles, none of these units reported Hotchkiss projectiles on hand.  But moving to the next page, there are some points to discuss:

0196_1_Snip_MO_Misc

Two batteries reporting quantities:

  • 1st Battery M.S.M.:  245 Parrott shell and 80 Parrott canister in 2.9-inch caliber; 100 Schenkl shot in 2.9-inch caliber.
  • 1st Missouri Engineers: 26 James shells, 3.80-inch caliber.

If we work from the premise that Washman’s section used 2.9-inch English rifles, then we have to question the identification of Parrott projectiles here.  When those rifles were purchased, a quantity of projectiles were included.  So might those be Britten rifled projectiles, 2.9-inch, instead of Parrott?  I can make a case the clerks simply transcribed these as Parrott projectiles, lacking an open column header.

As for the 1st Missouri Engineers, let’s also consider the next page:

0196_2_Snip_MO_Misc

  • 1st Missouri Engineers: 72 Schenkl shells, 3.80-inch caliber; 20 Tatham’s canister, 3.80-inch caliber.

The 1st Missouri Engineers didn’t report any cannon, but we have a citation from the regimental history mentioning a Parrott rifle.  However, the detachment reported having James caliber projectiles on hand.  I’d lean towards this unit having a James rifle on the armored flat car (if indeed that is what we are looking at here), and the regimental history incorrectly identifying the gun.

To close out this section and all of Missouri for the second quarter, we have the small arms:

0196_3_Snip_MO_Misc

Looking down the list, we see a scatter of entries:

  • 1st Battery M.S.M.: Thirty Navy revolvers, twenty-eight cavalry sabers, twenty horse artillery sabers, and forty-nine (?) foot artillery sabers.
  • 10th Missouri Cavalry: Sixty-nine cavalry sabers.
  • 18th Missouri Infantry: Three Army revolvers.
  • 1st Missouri Engineers: Twenty-six breechloading carbines and three rifles (type not specific).

My presumption is the “train guard” from the 1st Missouri Engineers carried those long arms while doing their escort work.  As to why those appear on the artillery’s ordnance return as opposed to one for infantry weapons, I think this goes back to who was filing the paperwork.  If you are the ordnance officer for a detachment of engineers working in Tennessee, would you submit two separate reports?  Or just consolidate it all onto one report, regardless if artillery or small arms?  All that paperwork was going to Washington anyway.

Go see “Dunkirk”… It’s not history, but it’s good!

There you have it, in my “bottom line up front” method of driving home a point. If you have not seen “Dunkirk” by now, then you should.  Well worth the price of admission.  An hour and forty-five minutes of good entertainment… on a historical subject of note.

But I’d not call it history.  And I don’t intend that as a swipe at the movie, the director, the actors, or such.  And I’m not going to give you some list of historical inaccuracies.  If I were, we’d start with the use of ex-Spanish aircraft powered by British engines, with yellow noses (as a scale model builder, I have to pause and “stitch count” here… the yellow recognition colors were not adopted for another month or so in the run-up to the Battle of Britain) to portray Nazi fighters and bombers. Or the Spitfire Mk. Vs, which was not in service until 1941.

However, in a world awash of CGI, I actually like the notion of using something real to stand in.  And, in a similar way, I don’t really have a problem with characters based on historical figures, but not quite set to the historical template.  It’s OK.  It’s a movie.

Rather, when I say it is not history, I’m referring to the format.  This is not a movie scripted to tell the events from a historical perspective.  Viewers of the movie are expected to have all that scoped out before taking to the cushy theater seat.  There are no white-lettered prefaces, narrator descriptions, or scenes that take us to the Prime Minister’s office.  The only situational introductions offered are a few leaflets thrown into view (which one character quickly gathers up for use as “materials”) and a few chats between officers on the Mole.  That’s all we really get of the “big picture.”  You, the entertained, are expected to show up knowing all the background as to what Dunkirk was all about.

And that, I offer, is refreshing in a way.

Historical subject, to be sure.  But Dunkirk, to me at least, was more “story telling” in the classic, perhaps sociological, sense.  It’s the story that in days before movies and radio shows would be shared around the community as part of legend, lore, and those little bits of shared experience that brings commonality to a society.  It is… to be blunt… a story about “us”  – with the “us” in this case being those who live on the island inhabited by a people who insist they are the center of the known universe… em… England.  In short, Dunkirk is a “tribal” story.

And there’s not a darn thing wrong with that!

I stepped out of the theater impressed with a subtle, but overwhelming, thread.  That being the turning of the characters from concerns and thoughts of themselves towards a efforts to support the collective goal.  At the start, we have soldiers doing everything to just get onto a boat, any boat.  We have sailors concerned with ships being sunk.  We have pilots concerned over their fuel.  And, civilians concerned about giving up control of their property (a boat) to the government… or young men worried about making an impression.

Yet, as the separate time lines unfold, we find characters moving away from those self-centered concerns.  They make sacrifices.  They embrace actions for the common good.  And, that happens with most of the major characters sharing space on a little boat…. I see what you did there Christopher Nolan!

On the other side of this “story telling” what are we shown of the “enemy”?  Well, the Germans are there.  But they are not there.  Instead, Germans are represented by bombs, shells, bullets, torpedoes, and airplanes.  Yes, a diving Stuka is pretty much a Nazi trademark.  But we never see faces, until the very end. And even then just fleeting views in the gathering darkness.  This is a classic element of those old tribal legends.  The enemy was just a prop. A counterpoint to the humanness of the “us.”

And again, there’s not a darn thing wrong with that! Indeed, it is these defeat-into-victory experiences which temper and strengthen a society.  Not something to be shunned and shunted aside.  These are the very things we should have at the fore.  These sort of things bring us to the essence of a society.  And I dare say, even help us connect beyond our little fold of society.

So what if I can’t call it “history”?  Dunkirk is a good movie.  The value of this film increases with the knowledge, of the subject, one carries into the theater. Likewise, that value continues to grow with the more time contemplating the subject afterwards.

“Tribal stories” work that way.

 

The Folwell letters, June 29, 1863: “Co. I is rear guard of the grand army”

On June 28, 1863, Captain William W. Folwell lamented on the wait for the rear guard to cross the bridges at Edwards Ferry, as his command prepared to remove those pontoons.  June 29th found his company BEING the rear guard of the Army of the Potomac.  This was a two letter day for Folwell.  The first was posted in the morning:

Buckeys Town, Md.,

June 29th, 1863, 8 A.M.

Here I am.  Co. I is rear guard of the grand army.  We got to camp at 3 A.M. Got 3 hours good sleep and a good breakfast.  We march to Union Town.  We are well.

Just a short note. But some details that allow us to validate the movements of the engineers.  Aside from the pontoons sent back down the C&O Canal, the remainder of the detachment (parts of the Regulars and the 50th New York Engineers) was sent on a march toward Frederick, Maryland.  The march, which must have begun around mid-day on the 28th, took the detachment of engineers past Poolesville, over the Monocacy, and up to Buckeystown.

And this was the trail end of the Army of the Potomac.

Later in the day, Folwell had time to write another letter home:

Camp Engineer Brigade,

Frederick, Md.,

June 29th 1863.

I wrote you a hasty note in pencil this morning, which I mailed at Buckeystown, while marching hither.  Two miles this side of that place, we came up on the 5th Corps, which followed our trains.  I was then relieved of my duties as Provost Marshall.  I had some very active duty hurrying up some 11th Corps stragglers.  One fellow I had to handle roughly, and finally set two men with fixed bayonets to drive him on.  I was very glad to be relieved. Communication is cut off between us and Washington, the R.R. having been damaged at Mt. Airey Station some miles below here.  I presume, therefore, that said note will be slow in reaching you, as also this is likely to be.  Still, I wish to do all I can to keep you advised of my whereabouts and welfare.  We halted here at noon today, and pitched camp.  In the morning at two o’clock, we march, probably towards [Middleburg], the present H.Q. of the A.P. The news is scarce and uncertain.  Gen. Hooker is relieved and Gen. Meade is in his shoes.  It is said that both Reynolds and Sedgwick declined the appointment.  Co. I is rear guard again tomorrow, and no knapsacks will be carried.  Good Night.

Interesting, if the identification is correct, that Eleventh Corps soldiers would still be straggling on June 29.  That corps had crossed Edwards Ferry first, back on June 25.  There is, of course, a world of possibilities… to include mistaken identification.

I do find interesting that Folwell mentions a break in communications, but no problem with supply or delayed movements.  As I mentioned in the previous installment, Stuart’s cavalry moved through as a fast summer thunderstorm – there and gone.  Of course, Folwell was not getting all the news and knew nothing of the wagon train captured outside of Rockville the previous day.

At the end of the march, the engineers closed on Fifth Corps.  And the anticipated march for the following day was towards the Pipe Creek line. However, while the news of Meade’s assumption of command was correct, the rumors as to alternate commanders was not.

At this stage of the campaign, we leave the operations of the Potomac Crossing and the campaign transitions into the movements that would take the army to Gettysburg.  Folwell’s Company I was not to be in that fight.  Rather, they were placed back with their pontoons.  While not specific to my “lane” on Edwards Ferry, I’ll continue to post Folwell’s letters, so we may hear all of the engineer’s story.

(Citations from William Watts Folwell, Civil War Diary, unpublished, transcription retrieved from University of Minnesota Library, pages 423-24 (pages 429-30 of scanned copy))

Fortification Friday: The Forts of St. Louis

Most postings this week have centered on the 2nd Missouri Artillery and St. Louis.  So I figured to continue that theme here on Friday and look at the fortifications, mentioned in earlier posts, were that regiment served at the end of June 1863.

St. Louis was an important city for the Federal war effort.  It’s shipyards turned out steamboats and ironclads to ply the western waterways.  Factories produced equipment and materials, to include cannon.  An arsenal and barracks complex provided staging points for men and materials.  The riverways, railroads, and road infrastructure made St. Louis an important logistical center.  And of course, it was famously the “Gateway to the West.”

Looking beyond just pure military matters, St. Louis was important politically for the control of Missouri.  As the state’s most populous corner, the side which controlled St. Louis had much more sway, politically, over the rest of the state (a problem “rural” Missourians complain about even to this day).   Had Missouri swung from “disputed border state” over to a “Confederate state” early in the war, the rebels could directly threaten the Old Northwest states and those of the upper Mississippi Valley.  Not to say the prospects for such a turn were likely.  Rather just to say St. Louis was more important than just a place for factories, shipyards, docks, and warehouses.  It was also the key to holding Missouri in the Union.

That said, St. Louis had to be defended.  That’s where the 2nd Missouri Artillery and other units factored in.  The city was defended by a series of forts first laid out in 1861 and not completed… well… by some measure never fully completed.  To understand the layout, we have to think of the city as it was in 1861, rolling back the sprawl that is today.  At that time, the city’s western outskirts were along Grand Avenue.  So, generally speaking, the engineers laid out a defensive line along Grand Avenue, which swept back on the north and south ends to meet the river.   The only wartime depiction of this arrangement comes from a set of engineer diagrams:

StLouisPage1_Plat

Note the north seeking arrow points to the right. The diagram is not to scale, but does show in … shall we say schematic… the arrangements.  Lacking, of course, is the run of Grand Avenue.  While useful, this diagram is far from idea.  Some good work was done by Chris Naffzinger recently, correlating the fort locations to points in an 1870 Pictorial Survey (Compton & Dry).  My intention, last night when drafting this post, was to build upon that by using an 1870 street map of St. Louis to “go between” the engineers diagram and the pictorial survey map.  But that task is a bit more complex than first assess… and will have to wait.

But what I would like to do is walk through the forts and arrangements, looking at the particular features seen.  There were ten numbered forts along with six detached batteries, which used letters for designations.

Fort No. 1: Anchoring the left of the line and situated along Chippewa Avenue.

StLouisPage2_Fort1

Three bastions connected with curtains to form a neat triangle. Notice inside is a blockhouse, taking up most of the interior, with bunks for 190 men.  A traverse covers the entrance to the blockhouse.  And in that traverse is a powder magazine.  About 400 feet on each face. While the shape is not what we come to expect for a bastion fort, it complies with Mahan’s instructions.  One departure of note, if you look at the profile A-B given in the upper left.  The bastion had an open gallery covered by a stockade.  Armament was one IX-inch Dahlgren, one 32-pdr, and one 24-pdr.  All of which were mounted on center pintle barbette mountings. Battery B, 2nd Missouri was posted here in June 1863.

Fort No. 2: Located off Cherokee Avenue and also manned by Battery B in June 1863.

StLouisPage7_Fort2

Rectangular bastion fort with two IX-inch Dahlgrens, a 32-pdr, and a 24-pdr.  A cross-shaped blockhouse, with bunks for 150 men, in the interior.  A traverse covers the sallyport.  There are a couple of variations of this fort’s plan within the set. All show a rectangular bastion.  But the interior arrangement details differed.

Battery A:  This was a redoubt located between Forts No. 2 and 3.  It was off Arsenal Street. It appeared to have three gun positions.

Fort No. 3:  Maybe we call this a “half cross”?  The fort sat just south of Lynch Street.

StLouisPage9_Fort3

The main bastion faced west and featured a position for a IX-inch Dahglren (which may not have been placed).  Covering the flanks were a pair of 32-pdrs.  Then a set of supporting bastions covered the sides and rear, each with a platform for a field gun. A blockhouse for 96 men sat within the rear face, flanked by outlets.  Battery F lived here in June 1863.

Fort No. 4: Similar layout as Fort No. 3, but off Shenandoah Street.

StLouisPage12_Fort4

Similar armament and interior arrangements, but Fort No. 4 appears to be smaller along the faces.  Note the very detailed profile on the left.  Battery I occupied Fort No. 4 during June 1863.

Fort No. 5: Positioned on the north side of Lafayette Avenue, was another with triangular layout.

StLouisPage13_Fort5

No indication as to the intended armament.  An asymmetrical layout with blockhouse and traverse in the interior. Battery A was in Fort No. 5.

Battery B:  Placed on Chouteau Avenue, and well advanced, was a redan in arrangement.

Fort No. 6: A trapezoid shape bastion fort south of Clark Avenue and covering the railroad entering the city at that sector.

StLouisPage19_Fort6_7

The bastions were configured for two IX-inch Dahlgrens and two 32-pdr guns.  A blockhouse, that wrapped around a traverse, had 96 bunks.  Battery G manned Fort No. 6 in June 1863.

Battery C:  A simple battery placed on a rise adjacent to Fort No. 7, along Olive Street.  This appeared to be a three gun arrangement for field artillery.

Fort No. 7:  Shared a plan with Fort No. 6, but was advanced on Franklin Avenue (which we’ve discussed).  Battery E’s headquarters was in this fort in June.

Battery D: Located at the corner of the St. Charles Road and Grand Avenue.  This battery covered the cavalry remount depot.  Another three gun battery.

Fort No. 8: North of the St. Charles Road (Cass Avenue), this was an enclosed redan with two bastions:

StLouisPage20_Fort8

The one bastion (left side, and what would be the north end of the fort) was setup for a IX-inch.  The other bastion had a 32-pdr.  Arrangements included three platforms for field guns. The blockhouse, which was “w” shapped, could house 200 men.  Battery E also manned this fort in June 1863.

Fort No. 9:  With a similar layout as Fort No. 8, this covered Natural Bridge Road, which entered the city from the northwest.

StLouisPage24_Fort9

Fort No. 9 had two 32-pdrs in the bastions along with three platforms for field guns.  It boasted a fully formed caponiere.  The w-shaped blockhouse could house 200 men (two full companies according to the diagram). Two outlets were covered by two traverses, which contained magazines. Fort No. 9 was assigned to Battery C.

Battery E: On the opposite side of Natural Bridge Road, this two gun battery complemented Fort No. 9.

Fort No. 10: Located west of Bellfontain Avenue, this was another quadrilateral fort:

StLouisPage27_Fort10

The four bastions supported a IX-inch Dahglren, a 32-pdr, and two 24-pdrs.  The rectangular blockhouse had 40 bunks.  Battery H manned this fort in June 1863.

Battery F: A two gun position that complemented Fort No. 10.

And that was the right end of  the line, just a few blocks from the Mississippi River.  I’m not aware of any surviving remains of these forts.  Even by 1870 the city was moving west and taking over what had been open fields in 1863.  So what we have to work with, for history’s sake, are these engineers plans and maps.  And what we see in the plans is much of Mahan’s teachings directly applied.